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Old 08-11-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
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Question Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

For the record, I should probably state what my bike history has been. In high school I thought motorcycles were stupid and dangerous. By my sophomore year in college, I wanted one, and the summer after I bought a bike, had a friend ride it over, and took the MSF class, in that order.

First bike is an '85 Kawasaki ZN700, in-line 4, shaft drive standard
Second: '07 Ducati ST3 (little bit of a change. )
Third: '79 Suzuki GS850G in-line 4, shaft drive standard

Notice anything? The old bikes are heavy, though the ST3 isn't exactly a lightweight. None are exactly forgiving of anything other than sealed surfaces. I haven't ridden the Suzuki much, and haven't had the Kawi running in a couple months, but from memory the Kawi was easier to ride on dirt roads than the ST3. Never ridden, much less owned a dirt-oriented bike.

I'm thinking about a dual-sport to replace the Kawasaki that I can ride and not care if it gets beat up, I don't have to worry as much about bumps in rough pavement, I can take the occasional dirt road, and also commute on.

I want to be able to sustain 80 mph as indicated on a GPS.
Preferably I'd be able to go faster than 80 to pass. Don't need much acceleration, but a bit would be nice.
I want to be able to cruise all day on it, but I have a pretty sturdy backside.
I want to be able to fit a tank that turns the bike into a super-tanker.
i want to be able to kick it over when I get upset, and be able to pick it up after.
I want to be able to strap down a dry-bag or some other form of luggage.
Both for trips, but more regularly, shopping.
Good gas mileage would be a plus, but I care more about miles per tank.

Here are the options I've determined. Distinctions between the models, like the two DRZs, the different Yamahas. Any advice on ranking them from dirt-oriented to street-oriented? Any I should rule out based on what I want?

KLR650 - Pretty road-oriented, and heavy.
DR650 - Seems like it would be a good balance between dirt and street
DR-Z400(S/SM) - might be too small to run on I-10?
XR650 - Top speed is 70 mph or so?
The various Yamaha 250's, specifically WR250X - expensive, but fuel-injected. Really no clue about them other than being fuel-injected. Seems like they would be the best for dirt, worst for the road?
Husky 610(?) - Other than rumors of not being able to pack much weight on the back, a question mark sums up what I know pretty well.

::EDIT:: I'd be inclined to leave the engine stock, probably at the most change carb jetting, or maybe something like a different cam? Certainly nothing hugely expensive like the bigger displacement kits. I'd be doing things like changing the seat, adding a GPS, things that affect the comfort.

::EDIT #2:: I test rode an XR650L which got me thinking about this stuff when I barely noticed that I had gone over a curb, much less was riding around on grass that would send my other bikes skittering around. No problem with the seat height either. I'm fairly tall, and definitely on the lighter side.

::EDIT #3:: Doing some more interwebs browsing, and 26k mile valve check intervals on the WR250R?!?!!!! I have to say the 7.5k valve checks on my Ducati are killing me. Especially when I put an unexpected 4k or so on in a month.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:15 PM   #2
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Well until I read your "needs" I was gonna say WR250r, but it wont sustain 80mph on I-10.

I still think its the best bike you listed there though. Im a little biased though.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:22 PM   #3
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

I would second the WR. When I test rode Ed's I was amazed at how smooth the motor was at 65'ish mph. It makes a KLR seem like a paint shaker.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Even if you change gearing?

Kind of a problem when my current ride keeps pulling past 120, or so I'm told.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:29 PM   #5
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Difference between the DRZ S and SM. The S has 18" rear wheel and 21" front wheel. The SM has 17" wheels made for street rubber.

Sounds like you don't need anything to do single track, gnarly stuff . The XR geared correctly can easily do 80, gets good gas mileage, can be fitted with a very large tank and a decently comfy saddle, has a full sub frame so you can carry stuff. It can handle being dropped with little damage, they are cheap and fairly reliable. Since you're tall you shouldn't have any problems with the height.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:29 PM   #6
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

It will go 80mph with stock gearing but if you have any kind of head wind or hill, its going to slow. Im pretty sure it wont redline in 6th gear so going to a Taller gear would not increase top speed.

Still an excellent bike.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:30 PM   #7
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

And I have to say, I really like fuel injection. Was on a trip where some people were having problems when we went up to something like 11 or 12k feet, but my fuel injected bike actually went and got better gas mileage.

But I really like the idea of small and light.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:32 PM   #8
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Quote:
Originally Posted by xcgates View Post
And I have to say, I really like fuel injection. Was on a trip where some people were having problems when we went up to something like 11 or 12k feet, but my fuel injected bike actually went and got better gas mileage.

But I really like the idea of small and light.
Fuel injection on the WR is what sold me on this bike.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:33 PM   #9
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Quote:
Originally Posted by xcgates View Post
But I really like the idea of small and light.
Heh, small and light is a matter of perspective. For instance, my 450 EXC is much lighter then the WR but it has twice the HP. Of course the valve adjustments are needed about every oil change
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:45 PM   #10
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

One thing I like about the DR650 is the screw-type valve adjustment. Don't get me wrong, I love my ST3, but I hate the frequency of valve checks, even though the worst part is getting the plastics off, not the actual valves themselves.

Maintenance will play a big role in what bike I pick, I don't care if I have to change the oil a lot. I got used to doing that real fast on my Kawasaki when I was commuting 100 miles a day. Come home, drain the oil (the very, very hot oil) grab lunch, do some homework, (was taking multiple summer classes) button everything back up, fill 'er up, and get right back on the highway. That's when I started buying Shell Rotella by the 5 gallon bucket.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:45 PM   #11
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

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Originally Posted by Hood Ornament View Post
Heh, small and light is a matter of perspective. For instance, my 450 EXC is much lighter then the WR but it has twice the HP. Of course the valve adjustments are needed about every oil change
...if they can make a WR450R, that would be a game changer for those wanting more HP with the smooth FI of the WR250R...wishful thinking.

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Old 08-11-2011, 11:01 PM   #12
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

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Originally Posted by Red Brown View Post
...if they can make a WR450R, that would be a game changer for those wanting more HP with the smooth FI of the WR250R...wishful thinking.

RB
Of course you can't slice a cylinder off an R1 like they did with the 250. A 450 mill is gonna have to be a brand new design. Just a matter of Yamaha believing there's a market for it. At the end of the day doesn't matter to me if they make one or not. I'm not brand loyal and am quite happy with my KTM. If I really feel the need for FI I'll just go buy a 2012 or a Berg. Sure as heck wouldn't wait around for some other company to MAYBE make one.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:22 PM   #13
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

DR650/DR-Z400?

I haven't ridden the DR650, however it seems slightly more road-oriented than the XR650.

What about the 400? The web indicates a top speed around 100, so 80 should be doable. Besides, one is for sale right now near me. AKA, I could go check it out Sunday if I get the valves checked and adjusted on my ST3. You know, the stuff I love doing.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:49 AM   #14
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Since you only mentioned dirt roads, not tough singletrack or desert racing, A KLR fits your needs perfect. An XR650L would be a little more dirt oriented, but maybe still okay. A more dirt oriented bike like a DRZ 400 is just too uncomfortable on the roads.

What is wrong with the ST3 on dirt roads? When I had my Monster it was fine on gravel and fire roads. If the front end feels uneasy you need to go faster.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:55 AM   #15
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

I'm in a similar situation, thinking I need a dualsport. Dadgum Colorado ride reports.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:09 AM   #16
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Now you know why most of us have two or three bikes.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:36 AM   #17
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Quote:
Originally Posted by xcgates View Post

I want to be able to sustain 80 mph as indicated on a GPS.
Preferably I'd be able to go faster than 80 to pass. Don't need much acceleration, but a bit would be nice.
I want to be able to cruise all day on it, but I have a pretty sturdy backside.
I want to be able to fit a tank that turns the bike into a super-tanker.
i want to be able to kick it over when I get upset, and be able to pick it up after.
I want to be able to strap down a dry-bag or some other form of luggage.
Both for trips, but more regularly, shopping.
Good gas mileage would be a plus, but I care more about more about miles per tank
This is quite a request for a dual sport bike. The big one being capable of 80 with enough left over for passing. Most DS bikes are all about tapped out at that point. Then kickstarter that cancels out all new bikes. An old Honda 650 may be your best bet.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:55 AM   #18
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

Sorry, the "kick it over" is in reference to "crashability" not a kick starter. It is about me getting upset, plant my boot against it and kick it over.

(Not actually planning on doing that, I just want a bike that I don't worry so much about tipping over.)

C_M_Shooter: The ST3 is big and heavy, and the consequences if I loose traction quickly escalate.

Trainman: I have 3 bikes, they are just all heavy roadbikes.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:28 AM   #19
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

I have a DR650 that I ride a lot. Its a great bike for certain things but I can't imagine crusing at 80(probably an indicated 85 to 88) even with its tall stock gearing. It runs beautifully(cruising) at slightly lower speeds. The new revised KLR might. I've never ridden one.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:14 AM   #20
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Re: Small to medium dualsport options for a streetbike rider

If 80 all day is high on the list, I think I'd look at the Wee.
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